Team Sky have announced Geraint Thomas has abandoned the 2017 Giro d'Italia and will not start stage 13. The Welshman is still suffering from the effects of the stage 9 crash which has seen his lose time in the last two stages of the Italian Grand Tour. While Thomas dislocated his shoulder in the crash, he explained his knee was the major cause of pain and issue.
"I've been suffering since my crash on Sunday. I've had an issue with my shoulder which is manageable, but my knee has also been getting worse each day," Thomas said in a release from his team.
"Obviously it's never nice to leave a race early, especially when it's your main goal of the season, but I have to look at the bigger picture. I'd love to continue, but it would be a case of trying to survive each day rather than racing."
After his second place in the stage 10 time trial, Thomas told reporters that he was going to continue in the race with the stage 14 finish at Oropa to decide his future in the race.
"I'm definitely not going to give up at the moment, although it's certainly still a long way off," Thomas said of his overall challenge. "It's not ideal what happened. Like always, I'll just keep fighting and see what I can do. There's still a long way and a lot of racing to go. I'll try to recover in the next three days and hopefully by the next mountaintop I'll feel more or less back to normal. We'll try to give it everything.
However, having lost time on stages 11 and 12 Thomas and Sky made the decision to withdraw from the race.
Looking ahead to the remainder of the season, Thomas explained that he is already looking ahead to the Tour de France where he will ride in support of Chris Froome. Froome has won the last two Tours and will line out aiming for a third straight yellow jersey.
"I'll turn my attention to the Tour now, and I want to arrive there with as good form as I started the Giro," said Thomas. "I want to thank all the staff and riders here. It's been great fun and I wish them all the best for the remainder of the Giro."
Team Sky's principal Dave Brailsford acknowledged the disappointment at losing Thomas and his rider missing his season goal. Brailsford added the team will now look for stage wins with Philip Deignan its best rider overall in 49th place.
"It's desperately sad for Geraint. He has worked hard to arrive here in such great condition and we were looking forward to seeing him compete. As always, he has shown true fighting spirit and demonstrated what a competitor he is, but the impacts of a crash like that take their toll" Brailsford said. "We have to make sure that his injuries are managed optimally, ensure he is able to maintain his fitness and condition, and then look to set new targets."
"As far as the team goes, the GC has gone but there is still plenty to fight for and the opportunity is there for our riders to achieve a stage win in the 100th Giro."
Thomas abandonment continues Sky's GC misfortune at the Giro which has seen the team lose its main rider for the third straight year. In 2013, Bradley Wiggins was also forced to withdraw from the race with Richie Porte following suit in 2015 and Mikel Landa likewise in 2016.